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Ghana’s mobile phone penetration reaches 63% in 2009

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The exponential growth in Ghana’s mobile telephony sector reached over 15 million subscribers, a penetration rate of about 63% at the end of 2009.

In a second quarter country report on Ghana’s mobile telephony, fixed line, Internet and broadband sectors, the research company, Markets and Companies says it anticipates the development of the of these sectors to the end of 2014.

According to a summary of the report in 2009, Ghana’s mobile telephone subscriber base expanded almost 33%.

There are six mobile phone providers in the country, five are in operation and one is yet to start business. The five are MTN, TiGo, Vodafone, Kasapa and Zain which started operations in December 2008. Globacom of Nigeria is the sixth operator yet to begin services.

The report citing Ghana’s telecoms regulator, the National Communications Authority (NCA) says the country had just over 267,000 fixed lines in service at the end of 2009. This figure was much lower than previously estimated and reflects the limited growth that has occurred in the fixed-line sector in recent months.

With over 265,000 fixed lines, Vodafone is still the largest provider of fixed-line services, accounting for over 99% of the market. The latest data suggests that the number of Vodafone fixed lines stagnated in the later part of 2009, the report added.

The report noted that there are plans by the national regulator to auction five spectrum licenses for broadband wireless access (BWA) services, suggesting that the licenses will be used to provide WiMAX services to boost the country’s low Internet penetration.

While mobile penetration in Ghana is very high, Internet penetration is low. However, mobile web usage in the country has increased in the last year.

Ghana’s ranking on Opera’s ‘State of the Mobile Web’ report released Tuesday December 22, 2009 shows that many more Ghanaians were browsing the Internet using the mobile phone.

In an earlier report released in May 2009 which was published by ghanabusinessnews.com, Ghana ranked 11 among the 12 African countries that use Opera Mini, but in the current report that looked at 10 countries, Ghana ranked 5th. The top 10 African countries that the report covered are: South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya, Egypt, Ghana, Libya, Ivory Coast, Zambia, Tanzania, and Namibia.

By Emmanuel K. Dogbevi

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